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Theories of Temperament: An Overview

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Philosophy
Wordcount: 1703 words Published: 16th Apr 2018

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The literal meaning of personality springs from the Latin word ‘persona’, the mask employed by roman theatre actors. personality refers to our characteristics ways in which of responding to people and things.

Personality is characterised by the subsequent features:-

  1. it has both physical and psychological parts.
  2. Its expression in terms of behavior is fairly distinctive in an exceedingly given individual.
  3. Its main options don’t simply modification with time.
  4. it’s dynamic within the sense that a number of its options could change thanks to internal or external situational demands.

Definitions of personality

While there are many alternative theories of personality, the primary step is to know specifically what’s meant by the term personality. The word personality itself stems from the Latin word persona, that referred to a theatrical mask work by performers so as to either project totally different roles or disguise their identities.

A brief definition would be that personality is created from the characteristic patterns of thoughts, feelings and behaviours that create someone unique. additionally personality, personality arises from inside the individual and remains fairly consistent throughout life.

Some other definitions of temperament as given by some psychologists are:

• “Personality refers to individuals’ characteristic patterns of thought, emotion, and behavior, along side the psychological mechanisms — hidden or not — behind those patterns. This definition means among their colleagues in different subfields of science, those psychologists United Nations agency study temperament have a novel mandate: to clarify whole persons.”

(Funder, D. C., 1997)

• “Although no single definition is suitable to all or any personality theorists, we will say that temperament could be a pattern of comparatively permanent traits and distinctive characteristics that offer each consistency and individuality to an individual’s behavior.”

(Feist and cur, 2009)

Components of temperament

So what specifically makes up a personality? As described within the definitions higher than, one would expect that traits and patterns of thought and feeling frame a crucial half. a number of the other basic characteristics of temperament include:

  • Consistency – there’s typically a recognizable order and regularity to behaviors. basically, individuals act within the same ways in which or similar ways in which in an exceedingly style of things.
  • Psychological and physiological – temperament could be a psychological construct, however analysis suggests that it’s conjointly influenced by biological processes and wishes.
  • It impacts behaviors and actions – temperament doesn’t simply influence however we tend to move and respond in our environment; it conjointly causes North American country to act in bound ways in which.
  • Multiple expressions – temperament is displayed in additional than simply behavior. It may be seen in our thoughts, feelings, shut relationships and different social interactions.

THEORIES OF temperament

Personality contains a long history ranging from mathematician, Plato, Aristotle, solon and varied different philosophers and writers.


Plato (427–347 BCE) outlined the human soul because the seat of temperament. in keeping with philosopher the soul consists of 3 basic forces guiding human behavior: reason, emotion, and appetence. Reason is given the very best price because it keeps the additional primitive forces of appetence and feeling treed whereas feeling and particularly appetence area unit considered the “lower passions.”


Aristotle (384–322 BCE), one in every of Plato’s students and also the teacher of Alexander the good, noted human soul because the psyche. Aristotle projected that the psyche is that the product of biological processes. He additionally saw the psyche as as well as a collection of faculties that he placed during a hierarchy of importance. the primary school that Aristotle distinguished is that the nutritive—the human organism’s basic drives to fulfill its bodily desires. This school is found in plants further as in animals and other people. successive and better school is that the sensory activity, that philosopher outlined because the facet of mind that interprets sensory information. Animals further as folks have a sensory activity school. The last and highest school is that the intellectual, that philosopher saw as distinctive to kith and kin.


According to René mathematician (1596–1650), a French thinker, human temperament is that the product of the interaction of divine and primal forces. He saw the essential force behind human temperament because the immortal soul—pure, perfect, and intangible. mathematician started to clarify however this religious entity interacted with the material body. His observation of associate anatomical dissection semiconductor diode him to suppose he had resolved this mind-body downside. He detected atiny low body within the apparent center of the brain referred to as the epiphysis cerebri or epiphysis cerebri, therefore named by the Greco-Roman MD Claudius I Galen (c. 130–c. two hundred CE) as a result of its form reminded him of a pine cone. Descartes(1649) came to the conclusion that that this conical endocrine gland should be the purpose of contact between the soul and also the body. philosopher philosophical system, that is that the philosophical position that 2 substances—matter and spirit, or brain associated mind—exist severally of every different though they interact—became the foremost common read within the Christian West when the seventeenth century as a result of it “explained” the existence of human discretion and consciousness in an otherwise mechanistic universe. Indeed, before the appearance of the pc, it appeared not possible to permit for consciousness while not appealing to nonmaterial ideas.


Niccolò Machiavelli (1469–1527), a Florentine diplomat and political thinker, believed that temperament is best understood in an exceedingly social context. in keeping with Machiavelli, folks area unit basically egotistic, greedy, ungrateful, and unforgiving. moreover, he saw 2 primary forces as process human character. the primary one is associate Italian term—virtù—which is best described as a mix of positiveness, fearlessness, and assurance. Machiavelli referred to as the second force Fortuna, that is that the Latin word for luck. someone might become a robust leader with the assistance of an honest dose of virtù and Fortuna. in keeping with him leaders United Nations agency act out of kindness and a believe the essential goodness of humanity can continuously fail. This belief is usually expressed by modern folks as “nice guys end last.”

There are variety of different theories regarding however temperament develops. totally different schools of thought in science influence several of those theories.

Type theory of temperament

Perhaps the earliest acknowledged theory of temperament is that of the Greek MD Hippocrates (c. 400 B.C.), United Nations agency characterised human behaviour in terms of 4 temperaments, every related to a unique humour, or “humour.” The sanguine, or optimistic, kind was related to blood; the unemotional kind (slow and lethargic) with phlegm; the melancholic kind (sad, depressed) with black bile; and also the choleric (angry) kind with bodily fluid. Individual temperament made up our minds by the number of every of the four humours. Hippocrates’ system remained authoritative in Western Europe throughout the medieval and Renaissance periods. abounding references to the four humours is found within the plays of playwright, and also the terms with that Hippocrates tagged the four temperament sorts area unit still in common use nowadays. the idea of temperaments is among a spread of systems that influence human temperament by dividing it into sorts. A wide popularized (but scientifically dubious) trendy assortment of temperament was developed within the Nineteen Forties by William Sheldon, associate yank man of science. Sheldon classified temperament into 3 classes supported body types: the someone (heavy and easy-going), person (muscular and aggressive), and individual (thin and intellectual or artistic).

Trait theory of temperament

A major weakness of Sheldon’s morphological arrangement and different kind theories generally is that the component of oversimplification inherent in inserting people into one class, that ignores the actual fact that each temperament represents a novel combination of qualities. Systems that address temperament as a mix of qualities or dimensions area unit referred to as attribute theories. Well-known attribute intellectual Gordon Allport (1897-1967) extensively investigated the ways in which during which traits mix to create traditional personalities, cataloguing over 18,000 separate traits over a period of thirty years. He projected that every person has about seven central traits that dominate his or her behavior. Allport’s commitment to building attribute analysis additional manageable and helpful by simplifying it had been expanded by future researchers, United Nations agency found ways in which to cluster traits into clusters through a method referred to as correlational analysis. Raymond B. Cattell reduced Allport’s in depth list to sixteen basic teams of inter-related characteristics, and Eysenck claimed that temperament can be delineate supported 3 basic factors: psychoticism (such delinquent traits as cruelty and rejection of social customs), introversion-extroversion, and emotionality-stability (also referred to as neuroticism). Hans Jurgen Eysenck conjointly developed a quadrant supported across emotional-stable and introverted-extroverted axes.


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